Saturday snippets: 6th June 2015

By | Category: Travel news
the ridges at Poverry Point can be clearly seen from the air

the ridges at Poverry Point can be clearly seen from the air

As readers know I have been in America this week so let me start with a few stories from there.

Readers might remember the astonishing landing on the Hudson River in New York that Chelsey ‘Sully’ Sullenberger managed in 2009. Not one of the 155 passengers on board was lost in the accident and it is due to Sully’s skill and calmness as Just about Travel said at the time. Now, Clint Eastwood is going to direct and produce a film based on the incident as Sully recorded it in his book. At the time the incident was called “Miracle on the Hudson.” Will that be the film’s title?

Poverty Point in the northeast of the state of Louisiana was recently declared to be the 22nd UNESCO World Heritage Site in the U.S. Poverty Point is a plantation that occupied the site in the antebellum period and is an ancient American Indian earthworks site that was created about 3,400 years ago. The network of six mounds, six concentric semi-elliptical ridges and a central plaza were used for residential and ceremonial purposes, and the landscape was the largest and the most elaborate of its time in North America. Artifacts displayed at the on-site museum, such as projectile points and other stone tools made from raw materials indicate Poverty Point’s hunter-gatherer residents were part of an extensive American Indian trading network.

For those lucky enough to be in Chicago next weekend, there is one of the best free attractions that the US offers. The annual Chicago Blues Festival is one of the largest blues’ festivals in the world and attracts up to 500,000 people. Held in Grant Park, the headline act is Buddy Guy but the joy is listening to some of the up-and-coming people as well as some of those who never get over to this side of the pond.

innovation from Delta?

innovation from Delta?

The American airline, Delta, has come up with a new wheeze which might make it easier to get space in an overhead locker. It is launching a “preload” service for carry-on bags on certain flights from this summer. The new “Early Valet” system will offer passengers on busy US routes the chance to have a steward take their luggage from them at the gate and place it in the compartment above their seat. The airline hopes that this will reduce the impact of the frantic scramble for seats as passengers battle each other for space in overhead compartments near their seats. Actually it won’t because those who don’t pay for the service and board last will still be hunting around to find space. Sounds to me just like another passenger money removal tool.

From a company that monitors websites comes research suggesting that almost half of us use online travel sites to plan our holiday breaks. Less than a quarter of respondents said they (22%) look at travel brochures, with only 15% making the effort to visit a local travel agent. However it’s not all bad news for travel agents, as the research found they are still popular with package holidaymakers – 37% of those who booked a package holiday in the last two years booked ‘offline’ with a travel agent, either in person or over the phone. TripAdvisor is nearly twice as popular as Expedia (23%) and more than three times as popular as Skyscanner (9%) for holiday research purposes. The Internet has become the most popular route to booking a holiday in the UK as well, with one in five of respondents (21%) booking their entire holiday with a single company online. But as a sign of changing times nearly one in ten (9%) used TripAdvisor as a booking tool for their last holiday suggesting that the site is not a review site anymore but a booking platform.

the Royal_Pavilion in BrightonAnother piece of research – a much overused word in PR speak – comes from the Mercure hotel chain. It shows millions (this is an estimation only) of us believe fictional places to be real and also confuse many of our most famous attractions with those overseas. A third (35%) of us couldn’t identify Marble Arch, confusing it with the Arc de Triomph in Paris and nearly a quarter of us think the Lake District’s Derwent Water is in New Zealand. Over a quarter of us confused St Paul’s with The Vatican and 30% of Brits think the Brighton Pavilion is in fact the Taj Mahal. That 44% of Brits think the Scottish Exhibition centre is the Sydney Opera House seems strange since the two look quite different; well at least to me. 75% of us don’t think Durdle Door in Dorset is a real place, probably thinking it is connected with Harry Potter or Bahrain since they used an image of it for tourism purposes a few years back.

In the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius at the moment they are holding the annual Vilnius Festival which continues until the twenty-first of the month. It is one of the country’s biggest musical events attracting established soloists, ensembles and symphony orchestras from all over the world and promoting contemporary Lithuanian music by commissioning new large-scale works, and offers a platform for jazz and musical theatre. This year you can hear and see people of the calibre of Rostropovich, Riccardo Muti, Krzysztof Penderecki, Yuri Bashmet, Dave Brubeck, McCoy Tyner, Al Jarreau and Herbie Hancock With Vilnius being an easy-to-get-to city break destination, the city is hoping to see lots of us there

on the 20th there will be a light show beamed onto the palace

on the 20th there will be a light show beamed onto the palace

On June the 20th, the German town of Karlsruhe celebrates its 300th birthday. This baroque town was one of the world’s first ‘planned cities’ at a time when few ne towns were being built. Most places had been in sity ofr hundreds and yours and just grew organically. But when the design was turned into reality, the town quickly became known as the ‘Fan City’ for the streets that fan out from the palace. On June 20, the first of 400 birthday events kicks off a summer of dance, opera, art exhibitions and fun which run until September.

You could combine a trip to Vilnius with the Cultural Night which happens on the 19th of June. During this evening, squares, streets, parks and just about any open space in which you could swing a cat gets filled with various links to the performing and visual arts. There will be music, dance, street theatre, cinema, photography and light installations which are always popular with those that go there. This year there will be over 150 different projects and over 700 artists will be involved from all over the world.
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